Welcome to “My Perfect Birmingham Saturday,” a column where About Town asks Birmingham residents from different walks of life how they would spend a Saturday in the Magic City if they had it their way (and COVID notwithstanding). 


Jeremy Duckworth, executive director at the Central Alabama Redevelopment Alliance (CARA), has called Birmingham home for 14 years and is a hardworking economic developer who is committed to help small business owners – many of whom have been forgotten – find success and scale. CARA is empowered by its mission to increase economic development capacity for urban and rural communities, existing small businesses, and community stakeholders by providing professional educational programs that create sustainability, and its work that keeps Duckworth busy throughout the week. But Saturdays are reserved for his family, including his wife, Jennifer, and their three kids, ages 5, 8, and 10. Here is how he’d spend his perfect Saturday with them.


What I like to do is wake up about 5:30 and go to our building at Fairfield. I’ll teach a class on “Contrarian Leadership” from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., then leave there and go pick up one of my kids. All of my family will go to a sporting event for one of my kids around 8:30 or 9 – a volleyball game, a baseball game, or a dance rehearsal for my daughter. I really, really enjoy doing that – getting up early and helping some people out, then taking the kids to a sporting event that morning or a practice that morning, working with them and helping them.


At the end of that, I’m going to lunch with my wife. One of our favorite places is Red Sea Ethiopian Restaurant in the Homewood area. After we’ve done the while family and kid thing, from that point on I’ve got alone time with my wife for 90 minutes, just to have a conversation with her and debrief our weeks and find out what the other is going through. We always order the Joy Special – it’s so good. It’s got fried crawfish, fried catfish, shrimp and grits, crab claws – so good. We sit there and just hang out and talk for about 90 minutes, then we go back and deal with the munchkins and relieve our babysitter.


Now that the kids have their outside activities done and we’ve got our debrief done, I take them to a movie. We go to our local movie theater, AMC Vestavia Hills. We go there and watch a movie basically from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., then from that point on I take the whole family out. Jennifer [my wife] and I are not very hungry at that point, so we’ll take the kids to Chick-Fil-A to play around and run around at a park. The kids will have a chance to play with other kids – it’s a great time of fellowship with their acquaintances. We’ll sit for about an hour while the kids play, then we’ll come back home, relax, and get ready for baths and all that good stuff.


Jennifer and I try to sneak away again for another hour and a half. The second sneak away is really hard; the first one is easily done. For the second one, we’ll go someplace just for dessert – Highlands or a place in Hoover. We’ll go there and just get some kind of dessert and hang out and talk for an hour and a half again. It fills my love tank up for the day and for the week. As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized how much I need it.


- As told to Rachel Burchfield

Cover Photo: This Is Alabama